July 22, 1934 - outside Chicago's Biograph Theater, a barrage of FBI bullets brings down John Dillinger. As the body of Public Enemy Number one crumbles to the ground, one of the strangest,... See full summary »
F. Murray Abraham,
Television viewer seeing this for the first time: Gee whiz, it's in black-and-white and was made in the 40's and is about crime and...Eureka!...another "noir" film is discovered. How about ... See full summary »
Gordon Miller is rehearsing a musical comedy in the penthouse suite of Gribble's hotel...on credit. The mounting bill is driving Gribble frantic. Chaos increases when playwright Glen ... See full summary »
The rise of John Dillinger from petty criminal (including, unforgiveably, holding up a cinema) via prison and bank robbery with his new convict associates to the accolade of Public Enemy Number One. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
The first of four films made by Lawrence Tierney with director Max Nosseck. There was no love lost between them, however. In a magazine interview, Tierney said that he "hated" Nosseck. The feeling, as it turned out, was mutual. See more »
This lean, mean cheapo has all the virtues of economy. Lawrence Tierney is great in his impressive debut, ideally cast as the cold, humourless psychopath. In a little over an hour we get the complete biography, with the bad guy hero gunned down with seven dollars and twenty cents in his pocket, the exact amount with which he began his criminal spree.
The scene transitions are tight and efficient, and the story-telling terse and elliptical, giving us only the significant moments in this brief, violent life. No words are wasted when Pa Otto meets his end.
Dmitri Tiomkin provides his customarily excellent music. The lone wailing horn in the prison scenes captures superbly the despair of the inmates, as indeed does the unyielding regularity of the jail architecture.
Verdict - Less is more in this commendably spare gangster flick.
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